Song of rare whale 'crying for mate' recorded for the first time

A North Pacific right whale swims in the Bering Sea west of Bristol Bay in 2017

A North Pacific right whale swims in the Bering Sea west of Bristol Bay in 2017

According to the Associated Press, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used moored acoustic recorders to capture the sounds of the extremely endangered animal, which can be heard in a video from the AP.

Biologists dug through data compiled over eight years and detected four distinct songs at five locations in the Bering Sea off Alaska's southwest coast, Crance said. "We have direct evidence of male right whales singing, and we think this may be exclusive to males, but we have very limited data on vocalizing female right whales".

The name of the whale is given by the hunters at the beginning of the 20th century, as it is the "right" whale to hunt as a result of their slow paced swimming and lying on the ocean surface once they are dead.

That year, "We saw the whale that was singing", she said. And no longer ethical any upright whale, but the rarest of all of them. A predominant call sounds like a gunshot.

Structurally, in timing and number of sounds, right whale songs resemble those of the Atlantic walrus, she said. It's even more hard to study them, since there are less than 30 eastern North Pacific right whales on the planet.

The team first came across the sound around 2010, though they got the sound they weren't exactly sure it was the right whale.

To be a song, the sounds have to contain rhythmically patterned series of units produced in a consistent manner to form clearly recognizable patterns, Crance wrote in a paper for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Marine biologist Jessica Crance has stated that the song is caught up by a series of gunshot calls which has been repeating over an 8 year period. Both are filled with impulses, with walruses substituting knocking sounds for gunshot sounds.

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"The invention almost raises extra questions than it answers", Crance told Earther. "It could be that there are so few of them left, they feel the need to call more frequently or sing". Crance said. "If it is in fact unique to our population, why is that the case?" "This is entirely speculation, but perhaps they're copying humpbacks, a little bit".

No right whales died in Canadian waters last year, but 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017, and another five died in US waters that year.

The remote Bering Sea makes studying right whales a challenge.

Imposing fishery zone closures and mandatory speed restrictions when right whales are seen in certain areas. "But at this point with so few animals and so few data that correlate acoustical behavior with their physical behavior, it's hard to say ... at this point it's all speculative".

"Historically, they once were widely distributed throughout the entire Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, but now their range is quite constricted", she said.

"A singing male may by trying to attract a female".

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